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19/06/2013: PH Seeks to Expand Ties with Jamaica

19 June 2013

KINGSTON, Jamaica—The Philippines is looking forward to strengthening its relations with the Caribbean island-state of Jamaica by opening new doors for increased trade and cooperation.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. conveyed President Aquino’s strong desire to further improve relations with Jamaica when he formally presented his credentials as Manila’s non-resident ambassador to Governor General Patrick Allen in ceremonies at the King’s House here on Tuesday.

“The Philippines would like to strengthen its relationship with Jamaica not only by expanding trade but also exploring other areas where our two countries could cooperate,” Ambassador Cuisia told Governor General Allen.

According to the Ambassador, the Philippines, which is among the top providers of seafarers in the world, would like to enter into an agreement on cooperation in maritime training and manning services to allow it to share its best practices with Jamaica, which is host to as many as 100 Filipino seafarers.

He said Manila would also like to explore the possibility of exporting more Philippine-made products such as furniture to the former British colony as well as deploying Filipino workers in sectors where their skills and expertise may be required.

At present, Jamaica ranks as Manila’s 125th export destination and 123rd import source with more than $730,000 in exports from January to October 2012. Philippine exports to Jamaica include electrical and electronic machinery, equipment and parts; pineapple juice; and lead acid while imports include rum and tafia; stainless steel waste and scrap; and recovered paper and paperboard waste and scrap.

In his earlier call on Sen. Arnold Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Cuisia thanked Jamaican authorities for accommodating the close to 300 Filipinos who have made the island their second home.

The Ambassador noted that Jamaica is one of the few Caribbean governments that the Philippines has recognized as having adequate labor and social laws that protect the rights of migrant workers.

Ambassador Cuisia said he expects a more robust engagement with Kingston with the promotion of Jamaican businessman Everoy Hugo Chin from Honorary Consul to Honorary Consul General of the Philippines.

The Honorary Consulate and later the Honorary Consulate General in Kingston was overseen by the Philippine Embassy in Havana until it was closed in 2012. Jamaica and several other Caribbean states were then placed under the consular jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.

According to Consul General Chin, majority of the Filipinos based in Jamaica are missionaries and seafarers. The rest are administrative and managerial workers, equipment operators, technicians, clerical and related workers, engineers, accountants, chefs, teachers and household service workers.

A former British colony, Jamaica is the fifth largest island in the Caribbean. With a population of 2.8 million, it is the third largest English speaking country in the Americas next to the United States and Canada.

Jamaica was discovered for Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1494 but was seized by the British in 1665. It gained full independence in 1962 but remains part of the British Commonwealth with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. ###

21 June 2013